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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Are Tablet PC’s the future?

So the iPad has landed and as I said in a previous post, I just don’t get the what the fuss is about.  But after a discussion the other day, I  wonder if tablets really could take off after all.

First let me make it clear, I still think the iPad an over hyped piece of junk, for a variety of reasons.  First is the total lack of expandability, second is the lack of flash and third is its a closed system.

apple-ipad Starting with the lack of expandability, no USB ports, what's that all about, need I really say any more. The second issue, the lack of Adobe Flash support, comes from the discussion mentioned above. Essentially some one told me they were getting an iPad, not to roam with with an oversized iPhone that can’t make calls and requires yet another expensive dataplan, but as a secondary computer in the home, that can be used for web browsing, checking email and reading books.  Suddenly its seems that it might have a use.

Let me explain that I had always had desktop PCs until mine died a few years ago, mainly due to the ease of upgrading components and the extra power they offered over more portable devices.  I have since moved to using a laptop, mainly as nearly everything I do is now web based with my Xbox360 used for games.  Having a laptop also gives me the freedom to use my computer anywhere in the house.  A tablet gives me another option.  Get a basic desktop PC for the office to do carry out the occasional more intensive tasks, store files, act as a media server etc and get a tablet to use in the rest of the house for the daily rituals of checking email, Facebook, news and the like, something a little more portable than a laptop.  Taking this in to account, iPad is flawed by not supporting Flash, rendering much of the web inaccessible. Its clear Apple don’t want to open their devices up to Flash, it would see their huge cash cow of their app store falter as apps were made freely available elsewhere on the web, who can blame them.  But if someone else comes along with something the same but open, it may not matter if all but the hardcore Apple fans desert them.

The third issue is Apple creating a closed system, where it controls everything. I read a great article at, which compares Apple to AOL in the early days of the internet.  Ipods, iPhone, iPads provide a great ecosystem that is extremely user friendly, but at the same time its a closed system that limits what the user can do and access.  Yes the apps are great (so are the apps on Android), but the internet, the primary use for such a device, is open and to truly harness the potential of such a device, surely it too needs to be open.

google-tablet So, where to next for the tablets.  Well Google is due to release its Chrome OS later in the year, perhaps they will be able to fulfil the true potential of the tablet with an open system, supporting open standards (and Flash) that targeted in the right way, could offer a genuine option for a secondary computer device in the home (or away from home too). Add a few USB ports for expansion and they could well be on to a winner, stealing Apples thunder. Only time will tell

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